Advice on overcoming chicken syndrone (sic) ;)

Aug 11, 2017
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As mentioned by another member it's unnerving - not to mention technically a no-no here in the states - to watch your bird sail away on autopilot. A lot of what-ifs start running through your mind. A lot of worry has been alleviated by simulating missions first in Google Earth but I still haven't been able to shake the pucker factor of running a long mission.
Oh - and please, no preaching about VLOS blah blah. I'm a big boy and assume all risks so please keep it to yourself.
Here in Texas you're likely well and truly borked if your drone goes down since 99.9999% of what should be pristine wilderness is in fact private ranches. Seriously - you can be in the far west will nary a gas station for 100 miles and you're likely flying over private property. It sucks.
So - pucker factor is squared when you launch to get a close eye on a nifty rock formation.
I have it narrowed down to concern with running into obstacles.
Puts a real crimp into dolly shots with no side sensors (P4P only uses the IR sensors in tripod and beginner mode). I've been known to run a mission with eyes forward for this eventuality then a second "real" mission after the path has been flown.
Then I realize that I am not at all certain how the Phantom actually reacts to real world obstacles. I've seen videos where the guy had his bird do a RTH and a very tall tower was in his way - it kept climbing until it got over it. Good to know - it climbs. But - does it always? I've experienced the drone stopping dead in its tracks when it faced the sun - a very real hazard since as a photographer I tend to shoot towards the beginning and end of the day. I'm not clear on why it stopped and didn't try to take action.
So that was RTH - what about when flying a mission? I know that it's supposed to dodge and weave when you use TapFly - which I haven't had the guts to try. I can envision if you come to a tree - and we have these humongous sprawling live oaks here - it might try to fly up which is a guaranteed crash.
So sorry about the rambling post - my goal here is to ask what have people done to ease their fears besides packing a 5th of bourbon (JK).
I have some test missions where I can test battery endurance and such - anyone have ideas for testing the obstacle avoidance and behaviors in a safe manner? I'm always reassured when I can see it happen and say - ok, it works.

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